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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXVII (FINAL): Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui (Yi Cheok) - Last King of Joseon Dynasty and Emperor of short-lived Korean Empire

Yumi attends the Last Supper for Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui with her imperial-styled outfit.
Finally, the column of Joseon Dynasty Kings' Chronicles will be closed permanently by ending this column with the introduction of Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui, Final Ruler of Joseon Dynasty and Korean Empire. 

Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui, previously known as Imperial Crown Prince Gunbang (Hanja: 純宗隆熙皇帝, [君邦皇太子]; Born: 25 March 1874 – Died: 24 April 1926; Reigned: 1907-1910), born Yi Cheok (이척/李坧) was 27th and Final King of Joseon Dynasty as well as the Final Emperor of Korean Empire

When the Japanese forced the Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu, to abdicate his throne in 1907, they enthroned his oldest living son (actually the fourth-born) as the new Emperor Yunghui. The new emperor, Sunjong, was also the son of the Empress Myeongseong of Yeoheung Min Clan, who had been assassinated by Japanese agents when her son was 21 years old.

Sunjong ruled for just three years and his reign ended with the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty in 22 August 1910 and the Japanese abolished the Korean Empire, ending 519 years of Korean rule under the Imperial Family of Jeonju Yi Clan. After the annexation treaty the former emperor Sunjong and his wife, Empress Sunjeonghyo of Haepyeong Yoon Clan, lived the rest of their lives virtually imprisoned in Changdeok Palace at Seoul Jongno-gu.

Emperor Sunjong died on 24 April 1926 in Changdeok Palace and is buried with his two wives, Empresses Sunmyeonghyo and Sunjeonghyo at the Imperial Tomb of Yureung (裕陵), a part of the Imperial Tomb of Hongyureung in Geumgok-dong 141-2 beonji, Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as Emperor Sunjong Mun-on Mu-nyeong Don-in Seonggyeong, Emperor Hyo of Korean Empire (순종문온무녕돈인성경효황제(純宗文溫武寧敦仁誠敬孝皇帝).

Based on Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui's Last Will in 1926, he swore that the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty of 1910 was signed forcibly by the Korean Ministers who pressured and bribed by Japanese Imperialists. It was believed that Empress Sunjeonghyo hided the Imperial Seal of Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui at the first place but unfortunately, a particular person confiscated the seal. The party who signed and agreed the nullified treaty is the Korean Ministers who agreed with Japanese Imperialists silently before the Actual Signing Ceremony of that treaty. 



The Story of Joseon Kings Ends HERE.




Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXVI: Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu (Yi Myeong-bok) - Founder of the Korean Empire


Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu, previously known as Prince Seongnim (Hanja: 高宗王, 光武皇帝 [聖臨君]; Born: 8 September 1852 – Died: 21 January 1919; Reigned: 1863-1897 [as Joseon State] and 1897-1907 [as Korean Empire]), born Yi Myeong-bok (이명복/李命福) was 26th King of Joseon Dynasty as well as the founder of Korean Empire. Gojong took the throne in 1863 when still a child. As a minor, his father, Regent Heungseon Daewongun (Grand Court Prince Heungseon), ruled for him until Gojong reached adulthood.

During the mid-1860s, Heungseon Daewongun was the main proponent of isolationism and the instrument of the persecution of native and foreign Catholics, a policy that led directly to the French invasion and the United States expedition to Korea in 1871. The early years of Daewongun's rule also witnessed a concerted effort to restore the largely dilapidated Gyeongbok Palace, the seat of royal authority. During Daewongun's reign, factional politics, the Seowon (learned academies that often doubled as epicenters of factional power), and the power wielded by the Andong Kim clan, completely disappeared as political forces within Korean state life.

In 1873, Gojong announced his assumption of direct royal rule. With the retirement of Heungseon Daewongun, Gojong's consort, Queen Min (later Empress Myeongseong), gained complete control over the court, placing her family members in high court positions. In the 19th century tensions mounted between Qing China and Japan, culminating in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). Much of this war was fought on the Korean peninsula. Japan, after the Meiji Restoration, had acquired Western military technology and had forced Joseon to sign the Treaty of Ganghwa in 1876. Japan encroached upon Korean territory in search of fish, iron ore, and natural resources. It also established a strong economic presence in the peninsula, heralding the beginning of Japanese imperial expansion in East Asia.

The French campaign against Korea of 1866, United States expedition to Korea in 1871 and the Incident of Japanese gunboat Unyo put pressure on many of Joseon's officials, including King Gojong. The Treaty of Ganghwa became the first unequal treaty signed between Korea and foreign country; it gave extraterritorial rights to Japanese citizens in Korea and forced the Korean government to open three ports, Busan, Incheon and Wonsan, to Japanese and foreign trade. With the signing of its first unequal treaty, Korea became easy prey for many imperialistic powers, and later the treaty led to Korea being annexed by Japan.

King Gojong began to rely on newer, rifle-equipped armies, who were paid. The old army, which used spears and old matchlocks, eventually revolted as a result of their mediocre wages and loss of prestige, and Heungseon Daewongun was restored to power. However Chinese troops led by the Qing Chinese general Yuan Shikai soon abducted Daewongun and took him to China, thus foiling his return to power. Four years later Daewongun returned to Korea.

On 4 December 1884, five revolutionaries initiated a coup d'etat by leading a small anti-old minister army to Empress Myeongseong's brother's house. The coup failed in 3 days. Some of its leaders, including Kim Okgyun, fled to Japan, and others were executed.

Widespread poverty presented significant challenges to the 19th century Joseon Dynasty. One indication of this poverty was the average life expectancy of Koreans around the close of the Joseon period: 24 years for males and 26 for females. A number of factors, including famine, poverty, high taxes and corruption among the ruling class, led to several notable peasant revolts in the 19th century. King Gojong's predecessors had suppressed an 1811–1812 revolt in the Pyeongan Province, led by Hong Gyeong-nae.

In 1894, another major revolt, the Donghak Peasant Revolution took hold as an anti-government, anti-yangban and anti-foreign campaign. To suppress the rebellion, the Joseon government requested military aid from Japan, thus deepening Japanese claims to Korea as a protectorate. In the end the revolution failed, but many of the peasants' grievances were later dealt with by the Gabo Reformation.

In 1895, Empress Myeongseong (referred to as "Queen Min" by the Japanese) was assassinated by Japanese agents. The Japanese minister to Korea, Miura Goro orchestrated the plot against her. A group of Japanese agents entered the Imperial palace in Seoul, which was under Japanese guard, and Empress Myeongseong was killed in the palace. The empress had attempted to counter Japanese interference in Korea and was considering turning to Russia or China for support.

Meanwhile, Japan won the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895), gaining much more influence over the Korean government. The Gabo reforms and the assassination of Empress Myeongseong also stirred controversy in Korea, along with anti-Japanese sentiments.Some Confucian scholars, as well as farmers, formed over 60 successive righteous armies to fight for Korean freedom. These armies were preceded by the Donghak movement and succeeded by various Korean independence movements.

On 11 February 1896, King Gojong and his crown prince fled from the Gyeongbokgung palace to the Russian legation in Seoul, from which they governed for about one year, an event known as Korea royal refuge at the Russian legation. In 1897, King Gojong, yielding to rising pressure from overseas and the demands of the Independence Association-led public opinion, returned to Gyeongungung (modern-day Deoksugung). There he proclaimed the founding of the Empire of Korea, officially redesignated the national title as such, and declared the new era name Gwangmu which means shining warrior. This effectively ended Korea's historic subordination to the Qing Chinese empire which Korea had acknowledged since the fall of the Ming Dynasty, and turned King Gojong into the Gwangmu Emperor, the first imperial head of state and hereditary sovereign of the Empire of Korea.

This marked the end of the traditional Chinese tributary system in the Far East. Adopting the status of empire meant that Korea was declaring independence from Qing China and, at least nominally, it implemented the "full and complete" independence of Korea as recognized in 1895. Gojong proclaimed the Korean Empire in 1897 to justify the country's ending of its traditional tributary subordination to China. He tried to promote the ultimately unsuccessful Gwangmu Reform.

In 1904-5, the Japanese military achieved a comprehensive victory in the Russo-Japanese War. Following the Protectorate Treaty of 1905 between Korea and Japan, which stripped Korea of its rights as an independent nation, Gojong sent representatives to the Hague Peace Convention of 1907 in order to try to re-assert his sovereignty over Korea. Although the Korean representatives were blocked by the Japanese delegates, they did not give up, and later held interviews with newspapers.

One representative warned forebodingly of Japanese ambitions in Asia: "The United States does not realize what Japan's policy in the Far East is and what it portends for the American people. The Japanese adopted a policy that in the end will give her complete control over commerce and industry in the Far East. Japan is bitter against the United States and against Great Britain. If the United States does not watch Japan closely she will force the Americans and the English out of the Far East."

As a result, Gojong was forced to abdicate by the Japanese and Gojong's son Sunjong succeeded to the throne. After abdicating, Emperor Gojong was confined to the Deoksu Palace by the Japanese. On 22 August 1910, the Empire of Korea was annexed by Japan under the Japan-Korea Annexation Treaty.

Gojong died suddenly on 21 January 1919 at Deoksugung Palace. There is much speculation that he was killed by poison administered by Japanese officials, an idea that gained wide circulation and acceptance at the time of his death. His death and subsequent funeral proved a catalyst for the March First Movement for Korean independence from Japanese rule. He is buried with his wife, Empress Myeongseong of Yeoheung Min Clan at the Imperial Tomb of Hongneung, a part of Imperial Tomb of Hongyureung in Geumgok-dong 141-3 beonji, Namyangju City, Gyeonggi Province.

He was posthumously known as Emperor Gojong Tongcheon Yung-woon Jogeuk Dollyun Jeongseong Gwang-ui Myeonggong Daedeok Yojun Sunhwi Umo Tanggyeong Eungmyeong Ipgi Jihwa Shin-yeol Oehun Hong-eop Gyegi Seollyeok Geonhaeng Gonjeong Yeong-ui Honghyu Sugang Munheon Mujang Inik Jeonghyo, Emperor Tae of Korean Empire (고종통천융운조극돈륜정성광의명공대덕요준순휘우모탕경응명입기지화신열외훈홍업계기선력건행곤정영의홍휴수강문헌무장인익정효태황제/高宗統天隆運肇極敦倫正聖光義明功大德堯峻舜徽禹謨湯敬應命立紀至化神烈巍勳洪業啓基宣曆乾行坤定英毅弘休壽康文憲武章仁翼貞孝太皇帝).

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXV: King Cheoljong (Yi Byeon) - Look ma, this king is controlled by Andong Kim Clansmen!


King Cheoljong, previously known as Prince Deog-wan (Hanja: 哲宗王 [德完君]; Born: 25 July 1831 – Died: 13 December 1863, Reigned: 1849–1863), born Yi Byeon (이변/李昪) was the 25th king of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. He was a distant relative of King Yeongjo, son of Grand Court Prince Jeon-gye (전계대원군/全溪大院君) and Grand Court Lady Yeongseong of Yongdam Yeom Clan (용성부대부인 염씨/龍城府大夫人 廉氏). 

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Andong Kim clan, who had provided the Joseon state with several queens, had seized power almost everywhere in Korea. The social stagnation that resulted was a breeding ground for unrest. Corruption and embezzlement from the treasury and its inevitable exploitation were taken to extreme levels, and reached staggering proportions. One rebellion after another was accompanied by natural disasters. Indeed it was one of the most gloomy periods in the country’s history.

The only aim of the Andong Kim clan was the preservation of their influence. Their fierce campaign truly to dominate the royal house had led to a situation in which almost all of the representatives of the royal family fled from Seoul. When the royal family produced intelligent and appropriate candidates for the accession, they were either accused of treason and executed or sent into exile, so when Heonjong died, leaving no son, no acceptable candidate could be found to succeed to the throne.

Cheoljong ascended to the throne in 1849 at the age of 19 after King Heonjong died without an heir. As a distant relative of King Yeongjo, the 21st king of Joseon, Cheoljong was selected for adoption by the Dowager Queen at the time and to allow him to ascend to the throne. The future Cheoljong was found on Ganghwa Island, Incheon Metropole where his family had fled to hide from oppression.

When the envoys (dispatched in order to seek for the future king) arrived on Ganghwa Island, they found the remaining clan of the Yi's barely surviving in wretched poverty. In 1849, at the age of 18, Yi Byeon (the future Cheoljong), the 3rd son of Prince Jeon-gye (great-grandson of King Yeongjo), was proclaimed King, amidst obvious degradation and poverty. Though from the start of the Joseon Dynasty Korean kings had given top priority to the education of their sons, Cheoljong could not even read a single word on the notice delivering congratulations to him on his elevation to the royal throne.

For the Andong Kims, Cheoljong was an excellent choice. His illiteracy made him manipulable and vulnerable to their control. Proof of this was that even though Cheoljong ruled the country for 13 years, until his very last days he had not yet learned how to move with dignity or how to wear royal clothes, so that in even the most luxurious of robes he still looked like a fisherman.

As part of the Andong Kim's manipulation of Cheoljong, in 1851, the clan married Cheoljong to Queen Cheor-in, daughter of Kim Mun-geun, Internal Prince Yeong-eun (영은부원군 김문근/永恩府院君 金汶根). He died without a male heir at the age of 32 in December 1863, by suspected foul play by the Andong Kim clan, the same clan that had made him king. Despite having five sons and six daughters, only one child, a daughter, lived past infancy. 

King Cheoljong was buried at the Royal Tomb of Yereung (睿陵), a part of Seosamneung Royal Tomb Cluster in Wondang-dong san 37-1 beonji, Goyang DeogYang-gu, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as King Cheoljong Huiryun Jeonggeuk Sudeok Sunseong Munhyeon Museong Heon-in Yeonghyo the Great (철종희륜정극수덕순성문현무성헌인영효대왕/哲宗熙倫正極粹德純聖文顯武成獻仁英孝大王). In 1908, Emperor Sunjong-Yunghui promoted King Cheoljong into Posthumous Emperor with his new Posthumous Imperial Name, which is known as Emperor Cheoljong Huiryun Jeonggeuk Sudeok Sunseong Heummyeong Gwangdo Donwon Changhwa Munhyeon Museong Heon-in Yeonghyo, Emperor Jang of Korean Empire (철종희륜정극수덕순성흠명광도돈원창화문현무성헌인영효장황제/哲宗熙倫正極粹德純聖欽明光道敦元彰化文顯武成獻仁英孝章皇帝).

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXIV: King Heonjong (Yi Hwan) - A King who suppressed Korean Catholics and Last King to be buried at the Donggureung Royal Tomb Cluster


King Heonjong, previously known as Prince Moon-eung (Hanja: 憲宗王 [文應君]; Born: 8 September 1827 – Died: 25 July 1849), born Yi Hwan (이환/李奐) was the 24th king of the Joseon Dynasty. He was the grandson of King Sunjo. His father was Crown Prince Hyomyeong (posthumously named as Emperor Munjo-Ikjong, Emperor Ik of Korean Empire), who died at the age of 21 before becoming king and his mother was Queen Sinjeong of the Pungyang Jo clan. Heonjong was born three years before Hyomyeong's death.

Heonjong ascended to the throne in 1834 at the age of 8 after his grandfather, King Sunjo, died. Like King Sunjo, Heonjong took the throne at a young age and his grandmother, Queen Sunwon served as regent. Although King Heonjong ascended to the throne, he had no political control over Joseon. When Heonjong reached adulthood, Queen Sunwon refused to give up control. In 1840, the control over the kingdom was then handed down to the Andong Kims, the family of his grandmother Queen Sunwon, following the anti-Catholic Gihae Persecution of 1839.

King Heonjong died after reigning for 15 years in 1849 at the young age of 21. He was buried at the Royal Tomb of Gyeongneung within the Donggureung Tomb Cluster in 197 Donggureung Avenue/Donggureungno, Inchang-dong san 9-2 beonji, Guri City, Gyeonggi Province, where several kings and queens of the Joseon Dynasty was buried. As King Heonjong died without an heir, the throne passed to a distant descendant of King Yeongjo, King Cheoljong.

As was customary with the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, the chronicle of Heonjong's reign was compiled after his death, in 1851. The compilation of the 16-volume chronicle was supervised by Jo In-yeong. King Heonjong is the last king to be buried at the Royal Tomb Cluster of Donggureung.

He was posthumously known as King Heonjong Gyeongmun Wimu Myeong-in Cheolhyo the Great (헌종경문위무명인철효대왕/憲宗經文緯武明仁哲孝大王). In 1897, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu promoted King Heonjong into Posthumous Emperor during the Foundation of the Korean Empire. Thus, King Heonjong granted his Posthumous Imperial Name, which is known as Emperor Heonjong Chegeon Gyegeuk Jungjeong Gwangdae Jiseong Gwangdeok Hong-un Janghwa Gyeongmun Wimu Myeong-in Cheolhyo, Emperor Seong of Korean Empire (헌종체건계극중정광대지성광덕홍운장화경문위무명인철효성황제(憲宗體健繼極中正光大至聖廣德弘運章化經文緯武明仁哲孝成皇帝).

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXIII: King Sunjo (Yi Gong) - When his Governmental Reformations went KAPUT...


King Sunjo, previously known as Prince Gongbo (Hanja: 純祖王 [公寶君]; Born: 29 July 1790 – Died: 13 December 1834, reigned: 1800–1834), born Yi Gong (이공/李玜) was the 23rd king of the Joseon Dynasty. He was the second son of King Jeongjo which King Jeongjo had with Lady Subin of Bannam Park Clan, one of King Jeongjo concubines.

Sunjo ascended to the throne in 1800 upon the death of his father, King Jeongjo, at age 11. In 1802, King Sunjo married Lady Kim of Andong, known posthumously as Queen Sunwon, daughter of Kim Jo-sun, Internal Prince Yeong-an (영안부원군 김조순/永安府院君 金祖淳) who was a leader of Andong Kim clan.

Since he ascended the throne at a young age, Queen Dowager Jeongsun, the second queen of King Yeongjo, ruled as queen regent, which allowed her to wield power over state affairs. Despite King Sunjo’s efforts to reform politics, the fundamental principles of government deteriorated. The state examination became disordered and corruption in the government personnel administration prevailed. This resulted in disorder in society and various kinds of riots broke out among the people, including the revolt by Hong Gyeong-nae. The Ogajaktongbeop (五家作統法, a census registration system to group five houses as one unit) was also carried out in this period, and oppression against Roman Catholicism began in earnest.

King Sunjo died after reigning for 35 years in 1834 at the age of 44. He was first buried next to Royal Tomb of Paju Jangneung in 90 Jangneung Avenue/Jangneungno, Galhyeon-ri san 25-1 beonji, Tanhyeon-myeon, Paju City, Gyeonggi Province, where King Injo and Queen illyeol laid to rest but later moved to Royal Tomb of illeung (仁陵) - a part of Royal Tomb of Heon-illeung in 34 Heon-illeung Drive/Heonilleung-gilNaegok-dong san 13-192 beonji, Seoul Seocho-gu; as the Feng Shui (Korean: Pungsu/풍수) at the old site was deemed to be unfavorable.

He was posthumously known as King Sunjong Yeondeok Hyeondo Gyeong-in Sunhui Mun-an Mujeong Heon-gyeong Seonghyo the Great (순종연덕현도경인순희문안무정헌경성효대왕/純宗淵德顯道景仁純禧文安武靖憲敬成孝大王). In 1897, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu promoted King Sunjo into Posthumous Emperor during the Foundation of the Korean Empire. Thus, King Sunjo granted long and tongue-twisted Posthumous Imperial Name, which is known as Emperor Sunjo Yeondeok Hyeondo Gyeong-in Sunhui Cheseong Eungmyeong Heumgwang Seokgyeong Gyecheon Baegeuk Yung-won Donhyu Uihaeng Soryun Huihwa Jullyeol Daejung Jijeong Honghun Cheolmo Geonsi Taehyeong Chang-woon Honggi Gomyeong Bakhu Ganggeon Sujeong Gyetong Suryeok Geon-gong Yubeom Mun-an Mujeong Yeonggyeong Seonghyo, Emperor Sook of Korean Empire (순조연덕현도경인순희체성응명흠광석경계천배극융원돈휴의행소륜희화준렬대중지정홍훈철모건시태형창운홍기고명박후강건수정계통수력건공유범문안무정영경성효숙황제/純祖淵德顯道景仁純禧體聖凝命欽光錫慶繼天配極隆元敦休懿行昭倫熙化峻烈大中至正洪勳哲謨乾始泰亨昌運弘基高明博厚剛健粹精啓統垂曆建功裕範文安武靖英敬成孝肅皇帝).


AGAIN, my tongue hurts.


Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXII: King Jeongjo the Great (Yi San) - King Yeongjo's Grandson who become the Great King of Joseon


King Jeongjo the Great, previously known as Crown Prince Hereditary Hyeong-woon (Hanja: 正祖大王 [亨運世孫] Born: 28 October 1752 – Died: 18 August 1800), born Yi San (이산/李祘) was the 22nd ruler of the Joseon Dynasty (Reigned: 1776-1800). He made various attempts to reform and improve the nation of Joseon. He was preceded by his grandfather King Yeongjo (r. 1724–1776) and succeeded by his son King Sunjo (r. 1800–1834). Some historiographers say that King Jeongjo is one of the most successful and visionary rulers of the Joseon Dynasty. But it is also pointed out that he was overestimated.

He was the son of Crown Prince Sado-Jangheon (who was put to death by his own grandfather, King Yeongjo) and Lady Hyegyeong (who wrote an autobiography, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong detailing her life as the ill-fated Crown Princess of Joseon). Lady Hyegyeong's collection of memoirs serves as a significant source of historical information on the political happenings during the reigns of King Yeongjo (her father-in-law), King Jeongjo (her son), and King Sunjo (her grandson).

When he was the Crown Prince, King Jeongjo met Hong Guk-yeong (홍국영/洪國榮), a controversial politician who first strongly supported Jeongjo's accession and toiled to improve the king's power, but ended up being expelled because of his desire for power.

Jeongjo spent much of his reign trying to clear his father's name. He also moved the court to the city of Suwon to be closer to his father's grave. He built Suwon-Hwaseong Fortress to guard the tomb which is now become as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The era before his rule was in disorder as his father was killed by royal decree of his own father, King Jeongjo's grandfather. King Yeongjo's ultimate decision to execute Crown Prince Sado was greatly influenced by other politicians who were against the Crown Prince. According to the Chronicles of Joseon Dynasty (조선왕조실록/Joseon Wangjo Sillok), Jeongjo became the King of Joseon after the death of King Yeongjo. On that day, he sat on his throne in the throne room, looked at everyone and said, 
"I am the son of the late Crown Prince Sado..." 
This was a bold statement that sent shivers down the spines of all the politicians who were complicit in his father's death.

During his accession, he also issued a royal decree that his mother, Lady Hyegyeong, be a Dowager Queen since his father, her husband, was supposed to be the King before him. Thus, she became the Queen Dowager Heon-gyeong, the widow of Crown Prince Sado. From then on, King Jeongjo experienced many turbulent periods, but overcame them with the aid of Hong Guk-yeong.

King Jeongjo led the new renaissance of the Joseon Dynasty, but was initially stopped by continuing the policy of Yeongjo's Tangpyeong rule. He tried to control the politics of the whole nation to advance and further national progress.

He made various reforms throughout his reign, notably establishing Kyujanggak (규장각), a royal library. The primary purpose of Kyujanggak was to improve the cultural and political stance of Joseon and to recruit gifted officers to help run the nation. Jeongjo also spearheaded bold new social initiatives, including opening government positions to those who were previously barred because of their social status.

Jeongjo had the support of the many Silhak scholars who supported Jeongjo's regal power, including Scholars Dasan-John Jeong Yak-yong, Yu Deuk-gong, Park Ji-won, Park Je-ga and Yu Deuk-gong. His reign also saw the further growth and development of Joseon's popular culture.

King Jeongjo was known as an innovative person despite his high political status in Joseon. In 1800, he died suddenly under mysterious circumstances at the age of 48, without seeing his lifelong wishes that were later realized by his son, Sunjo. There are many books regarding the mysterious death of Jeongjo, and speculation as to the cause of his death continues even today.

King Jeongjo the Great was buried at the Royal Tomb of Geolleung (健陵), a part of the Royal Tomb of Yunggeolleung in 21 Hyohaeng Avenue 481st Street/Hyohaengno 481beon-gil, Annyeong-dong 187-1 beonji, Hwaseong City, Gyeonggi Province. His tomb is located near to his father's tomb, Royal Tomb of Yungneung (Tomb of Posthumous King Jangjo, Crown Prince Sado-Jangheon).

He was posthumously known as King Jeongjong Munseong Muyeol Seong-in Janghyo the Great (정종문성무열성인장효대왕/正宗文成武烈聖仁莊孝大王). In 1897, Emperor Gojong-Gwangmu promoted the great king into Posthumous Emperor during the Foundation of the Korean Empire. Thus, King Jeongjo the Great granted the Posthumous Imperial Name, which is known as Emperor Jeongjo Gyeongcheon Myeongdo Hongdeok Hyeonmo Munseong Muyeol Seong-in Janghyo, Emperor Seon of Korean Empire (정조경천명도홍덕현모문성무열성인장효선황제/正祖敬天明道洪德顯謨文成武烈聖仁莊孝宣皇帝).

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XXI: King Yeongjo (Yi Geum) - A King who executed King Jeongjo's father, Crown Prince Sado-Jangheon


King Yeongjo, previously known as Prince Yeon-ing (Hanja: 英祖王 [延礽君]; Born: 31 October 1694 – Died: 22 April 1776, reigned 16 October 1724 – 22 April 1776), born Yi Geum (이금/李昑) was the 21st king of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. He was the second son of King Sukjong and Royal Noble Consort Suk of the Haeju Choi clan a.k.a Dong Yi, and succeeded his older brother Gyeongjong as Crown Prince after considerable controversy.

Yeongjo's reign lasted 52 years and was marked by his persistent efforts to reform the taxation system of Joseon, rule by Confucian ethics, minimize and reconcile the factional fighting under his "Magnificent Harmony" Policy (Tangpyeong/蕩平/탕평), and for the highly controversial execution of his son, Prince Sado. In spite of the controversies, Yeongjo's reign has earned a positive reputation in Korean history due to his sincere efforts to rule by Confucian virtue.

In 1720, his father King Sukjong died and Crown Prince Yi Yoon, Sukjon's eldest son, ascended to the throne as King Gyeongjong, at the age of 33. When Sukjong died in 1720, he supposedly told Yi I-myoung to name Prince Yeon-ing as King Gyeongjong's heir, but in the absence of a historiographer or scribe, there was no record.

During his time there was infighting and resentment for his low-born origins. The Noron faction (노론/老論) of the bureaucracy pressured King Gyeongjong to step down in favor of his half-brother Prince Yeon-ing (the future King Yeongjo). In 1720, two months after the King's enthronement, Prince Yeon-ing was installed as Royal Prince Successor Brother (wangseje/왕세제/王世弟). This aggravated the power struggle and led to a great massacre, namely the Shin-im Literati Purge (辛壬士禍). The Norons sent messages to the king to no effect while the opposing Soron faction (소론/少論) used this to their advantage – claiming the Noron faction were trying to usurp power and subsequently getting their rival faction removed from several offices.

Members of the Soron faction then came up with an idea to assassinate the heir (Prince Yeon-ing) under the pretence of hunting for a white fox said to be haunting the palace, but Prince Yeon-ing sought shelter with his stepmother, Queen Dowager Inwon, who protected him and he was able to stay alive. Afterwards, he told his half-brother the king that he rather would go and live as a commoner.

On 11 October 1724, King Gyeongjong died. Soron then accused Prince Yeon-ing of having something to do with his brother's death due to the earlier attempt by the Noron faction to have him replace Gyeongjong on the throne. But historians now agree that he could have died of eating contaminated seafood, as to the symptoms of the illness that caused his death. Homer Hulbert described this in his book The History of Korea where he said, "But we may well doubt the truth of the rumor, for nothing that is told of that brother indicates that he would commit such an act, and in the second place a man who will eat shrimps in mid-summer, that have been brought 30 miles from the sea without ice might expect to die." On 16 October 1724, Prince Yeoning ascend the throne as King Yeongjo, the 21st ruler of Joseon.

King Yeongjo was a deeply Confucian monarch, and is said to have had a greater knowledge of the classics than his officials. During the reign of Yeongjo and his grandson Jeongjo, Confucianization was at its height, as well as the economic recovery from the wars of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His leadership has been called one of the most brilliant reigns of all the Joseon Dynasty.

Yeongjo worried deeply for his people. Annals of Joseon record that one day in the 4th year of his reign, King Yeongjo woke up to the sound of early morning rain and said to his courtiers,
Oh dear! We have had flood, drought and famines for the past four years because of my lack of virtue, and this year we even went through an unprecedented revolt by a traitor named Yi In Jwa. How can my poor people manage their livelihood under such hardship? There is an old saying, 'War is always followed by a lean year.' Fortunately, however, we haven’t had a big famine for the past two years and we pin our hopes on a good harvest this year. Yet I am still nervous because, while the season for harvesting is around the corner, there is no way of knowing if there will be a flood or drought before then. Nobody knows whether a cold rain will pour suddenly and flood the fields awaiting harvest. My lack of goodness might bring upon us such awful things as I fail to win the sympathy of heaven. How can I earn the sympathy of heavens if I do not self-reflect and make efforts myself? I should start with reflecting on myself.

Yeongjo worried that rain would ruin the harvest forcing his unfortunate people to starve. The King ordered his courtiers to reduce taxes on the people and decrease the number of dishes in his own meals. Reducing the range of foods he ate was a decision made out of concern for his starving people.

One early morning 25 years later circa 1753, the continuous rain reminded Yeongjo of the flood during the 4th year of his reign, when he had eaten less food: 
"Oh! Floods and droughts really happen because I lack virtue. I am much older than that year, but how can my compassion for the people and will to work hard for them be less than back then?"

Yet again, Yeongjo ordered a reduction in the number of dishes on his dining table. People around him described him as an articulate, bright, benevolent and kind King. He was penetrating in observation and quick of comprehension.

Yeongjo realizing the detrimental effect on state administration of factional strife during the latter half of the 17th century, attempted to end factional strife as soon as he ascended the throne. Yeongjo reinstated the short-lived universal military service tax, then he even went beyond the palace gate and solicited the opinion of officials, literati (scholars), soldiers and peasants. Yeongjo reduced the military service tax by half and ordered the variance be supplemented by taxes on fisheries, salt, vessels and an additional land tax. Yeongjo also regularized the financial system of state revenues and expenses by adopting an accounting system. His realistic policies allowed payment of taxes on grain from the remote mountainous areas Gyeongsang do province, to the nearby port, with payment in cotton or cash for grain. The circulation of currency was encourage by increasing coin casting.

Yeongjo's concern for improvement of the peasant’s life was manifest in his eagerness to educate the people by distributing important books in the Korean script (Hangul), including the Book of Agriculture. The pluviometre was again manufactured in quantity and distributed to local administration offices and extensive public work projects were undertaken. Yeongjo upgraded the status of posterity of the commoners, opening another possibility for upward social mobility and inevitable change. Yeongjo policies were intended to reassert the Confucian monarchy and a humanistic rule, but they couldn't stem the tide of social change that resulted.

Mercantile activities rapidly increased in volume. The accumulation of capital through monopoly and wholesales expanded through guild organisations and many merchants were centered in Hanyang. The traditional division of government chartered shop, the license tribute goods suppliers and the small shopkeepers in the alley and streets were integrated and woven into a monopoly and wholesale system.

Regardless of status, many yangban class aristocrats and commoners engaged in some kind of merchant activities. Thus Hanyang made great strides as a commercial and industrial city in the 18th century. The popular demand for handicrafts and goods such as knives, horse hair hats, dining table and brassware was ever-increasing. Restrictions on wearing the horse hair hat originally denoting a Yangban class status, virtually disappeared

Even pirating of books became commercialised as competition developed among the well-to-do Yangban engaged in publication of collected literary works of their renowned ancestors. This also led to printing popular fiction and poetry. The people especially appreciated satire and social criticism. One example is the Chunhyangjeon (Tales of Chunghyang) about the fidelity of the Gisaeng’s (entertainer's) daughter was widely read as a satire aimed to expose the greed and snobbery of government officials.

The only significantly dismal incident during Yeongjo's reign was the death of his son, Crown Prince Sado-Jangheon (Posthumous King Jangjo). History indicates Sado suffered from mental illness; accused of randomly killing people in the palace and being a sexual deviant. By court rules King Yeongjo could not kill his son by his own hands, so Sado was ordered to climb into a large wooden rice chest on a hot July day in 1762. After eight days, Sado died of suffocation. During the 19th century, there were rumors that Prince Sado had not been mentally ill, but had been framed; however, these rumors are widely contradicted by his widow in The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong.

Yeongjo was the first to take action against Roman Catholic activities in the country. By the 18th century, Catholicism was beginning to acquire a following especially in the Gangwon and Hwanghae provinces. In 1758, Yeongjo officially outlawed Catholicism as an evil practice.

When 14 years later King Yeongjo died, Sado's son, Yeongjo's grandson Jeongjo, became king. The early part of the new King's years were marked by political intrigues and fear of court officials who were afraid that Jeongjo would seek revenge on them for petitioning the punishment that caused the death of his father, Crown Prince Sado.

King Yeongjo was buried at the Royal Tomb of Wolleung (元陵),a part of Donggureung Royal Tomb Cluster in 197 Donggureung Avenue/Donggureungno, Inchang-dong san 8-2 beonji, Guri City, Gyeonggi Province. This controversial King received long and tongue-twisted posthumous name, posthumously known as King Jihaeng Sundeok Yeongmo Uiyeol jang-ui Hongnyun Gwang-in Donhui Checheon Geongeuk Seonggong Shinhwa Daeseong Gwang-woon Gaetae Giyeong Yomyeong Suncheol Geon-geon Gonnyeong Baemyeong Sutong Gyeongnyeok Honghyu Junghwa Yungdo Sukjang Changhun Jeongmun Seonmu Huigyeong Hyeonhyo the Great (지행순덕영모의열장의홍륜광인돈희체천건극성공신화대성광운개태기영요명순철건건곤녕배명수통경력홍휴중화융도숙장창훈정문선무희경현효대왕/至行純德英謨毅烈章義弘倫光仁敦禧體天建極聖功神化大成廣運開泰基永堯明舜哲乾健坤寧配命垂統景曆洪休中和隆道肅莊彰勳正文宣武熙敬顯孝大王). 


Oh crap, my tongue sprained a lot....


Friday, 21 November 2014

Parks around Han River in Seoul, Part IX: Seonyudo Hangang Park


Seonyudo Hangang Park (Hanja: 仙遊島漢江公園) is located on Seonyudo (SeonYu Island), one of the islands situated on Han River. The park used to be a filtration plant, but was converted into an ecological park. Seonyu literally means "a place of scenic beauty". Seonyudo Park utilizes the previous filtration plant to a great extent. It contains four parks and many walking trails. Apart from these, the park has other facilities such as Seoul Design Gallery, and a botanical garden. Seonyudo Park is a much loved place where visitors can experience nature and relax with beautiful views of the river.

Once upon a time, Seonyudo island (also known as Seonyubong) had a small peak and picturesque, jagged cliffs. This beautiful setting inspired wandering Confucian gentleman scholars, or seonbi (선비), who came here during the Joseon Dynasty to paint and compose poetry.

But in a dramatic shift of fortune, this small island on the west side of the Han River (not to be confused with the island of the same name in Northern Jeolla Province) had its mountain and cliffs removed during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and in 1978, it became the site of a sewage treatment plant. Twenty-three years later, the plant was shut down, and after two years of planning and restoration, Seonyudo island was transformed into a gorgeous, eco-consciousness park that opened in 2003.

In recent years, “eco-consciousness” has become a popular buzzword around Seoul. A few years ago the city government unveiled an ambitious 30-year “Han River Renaissance Master Plan.” A kiosk near Seonyudo Park‘s entrance promoted the city’s environmental strategic plan for the Han River and the metropolis that surrounds it.

In 1998, a concept known as “New Seoul” was unveiled with the goal of making Korea’s 600-year-old capital a more livable place for its 10 million inhabitants. The initiative’s major goals were: 
  1. Create easily accessible parks
  2. Restore the Han River’s fragile ecosystem
  3. Offer more public cultural events.

The 110,000-square-meter Seonyudo island park seems to do all three. Described by the Seoul Metropolitan Government as a “postmodern space,” the award-winning park harmoniously combines the organic with the industrial by preserving the former treatment plant’s structures and integrating them into a series of gardens. Water is the island’s principle theme. For example, bygone settling basins for water treatment chemicals are now home to small fish and many species of aquatic plants that naturally purify water.

Seonyudo Park used to be a filtration plant that supplied drinking water. The park opened in 2002 and the existing infrastructure has been turned into a water purification park, an aqua botanical garden and an ecological water playground. This ecological park acts like an oxygen tank offering fresh air to Seoul citizens and has now become a very popular tourist destination with over 300 visitors daily.

The old site of Filtration Plant is now used as the cafeteria which is called Cafeteria “Naru”. This cafe has a transparent glass wall so visitors can enjoy a relaxing time as they sip on tea or coffee and take in peaceful views of the Han River. The ivy-covered cafeteria has beautiful surroundings including three willow trees. The cafe offers simple snacks and beverages and was built on the site of the former pumping station.

The park is accessible via Yanghwa Bridge, en route to Seoul Mapo-gu on the northbound side by using taxi, after stopping at the Station 912: Seonyudo Station on Seoul Metro 9

Parks around Han River in Seoul, Part VIII: Yanghwa Hangang Park


Situated on the southern part of Hangang (Han River), Yanghwa Hangang Park (Hanja: 楊花漢江公園) which is located at 221 Nodeul Avenue/Nodeullo, Dangsan-dong 6-ga 98-1 beonji, Seoul Yeongdeungpo-gu, stretches 11.7km along between the mouth of Yeouido Saetgang Tributary and the Gayang Bridge in Seoul Gangseo-gu. This spacious park is lush with vegetation and offers a spectacular view of the river.

The park is located nearby a number of other attraction including Seonyudo Park (an island in the river, which has been transformed into an ecological park), Seonyu Bridge, and the World Cup Fountains (with jets 202m in height).


There is a wide bike trail that runs through the park that connects this park with the other Hangang River Parks. Every May, the bike trail is flanked by lush green grass and beautiful roses, making it the ideal picture-taking spot for friends, couples, and families.


Like all the other Hangang Parks there are plenty of sports facilities including a soccer field, volleyball and basketball courts. If you are interested in water activities you can find plenty to do here as water skiing and wind surfing are quite popular. There is also a long bike course, the world’s biggest world cup fountain and a common reed forest trail.

Same as Banpo and Yeouido Hangang Parks, Seoul Metro 9 runs around the Yanghwa Hangang Park, there are two stations to choose by stopping at the park; Stations 913 and 912: Dangsan=Interchange to Seoul Metro Line 2: Station 237 - Seonyudo.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XX: King Gyeongjong (Yi Yoon) - A King who diagnosed Erectile Dysfunction (ED) a.k.a Infertility


King Gyeongjong, previously known as Crown Prince Hwiseo (Hanja: 景宗王 [輝瑞世子]; Born: 20 November 1688 – Died: 11 October 1724, reigned 1720–1724), born Yi Yoon (이윤/李昀) was the 20th king of the Joseon Dynasty. He was the son of King Sukjong and Royal Noble Consort Hui of the Indong Jang clan a.k.a Jang Ok-jeong.

In 1690, Gyeongjong's designation as heir to the throne precipitated a struggle between the Noron and the Soron political factions, which supported King Gyeongjong. Following the death of King Sukjong in 1720, Royal Prince Successor Hwiso (Yi Yun, 이윤 왕세자) ascends the throne at age 33 as King Gyeongjong. He supposedly told Yi I-myeong to name Prince Yeon-ing as Gyeongjong's heir, but suspicions arose between Soron, Noron enemies, from the absence of a historiographer or recorder.

Gyeongjong suffered from ill health during his reign, and the Noron political faction pressured Gyeongjong to step down in favor of his half-brother, Prince Yeon-ing. In 1720, two months after his enthronement, his half brother, Prince Yeon-ing Yi Geum (the future King Yeongjo) was installed as Royal Prince Successor Brother (wangseje/왕세제/王世弟) to handle state affairs, since the king weak health made impossible for him to manage politics.

Gyeongjong's mother, Lady Jang is to blame for his illnesses. She was sentenced to death by poison, in 1701. Following the ruling, Lady Jang begged to see her son, the Crown Prince (later Gyeongjong). As she dashed towards him to greet him, she inflicted a severe injury to the Crown Prince's lower abdomen that left him sterile and unable to produce an heir. Due to King Gyeongjong’s fragile health, he had no energy or time to do anything significant in the four years of his reign.

This aggravated the power struggle and led to a big massacre, namely the Shin-im Literati Purge (辛壬士禍). The Norons sent memorials to the king to no effect while the Sorons used this to their advantage—claiming the Noron faction were trying to usurp power and subsequently getting their rival faction removed from several offices. Members of the Soron faction then came up with an idea to assassinate the heir (Prince Yeon-ing) under the cover of hunting for a white fox said to be haunting the palace, but Queen Dowager Inwon protected him and he was able to keep living, after this he said to the king he rather would go and live as a commoner.

During his four years reign, there were two major incidents of massacre; one is Sinchuk Treachery (辛丑獄事) in which the ruling political party, Soron, swept the opposition Noron, a group that insisted that Gyeongjong's half-brother, Prince Yeon-ing, handle national affairs on behalf of the weak and ailing king during the first year of Gyeongjong reign 1720 and the other one is Im-in Treachery (壬寅獄事) which took place in the 2nd year of his reign, circa 1722. History calls both incidents as Shin-im Literati Purge. During his reign, he made small guns in imitation of the western weapons and reformed the land measurement system in the southern parts of the country.

King Gyeongjong died in 1724 and entombed at the foot of Mount Cheonjang, which is called as the Royal Tomb of Uireung (懿陵) in 146-37 Hwarang Avenue 32nd Street/Hwarangno 32-gil, Seokgwan-dong san 1-5 beonji, Seoul Seongbuk-gu. He was posthumously known as King Gyeongjong Deongmun Ingmu Sun-in Seonhyo the Great (경종덕문익무순인선효대왕/景宗德文翼武純仁宣孝大王).

There was some speculation from Soron party members that his half-brother, Prince Yeon-ing, had something to do with his death due to the earlier attempt by the Noron faction to have him replace Gyeongjong on the throne, but several historiographers now conclude that he could have died of eating spoiled seafood, as described in Homer's book, The History of Korea. “But we may well doubt the truth of the rumour, for nothing that is told of that brother indicates that he would commit such an act, and in the second place a man who will eat shrimps in mid-summer, that have been brought thirty miles from the sea without ice might expect to die.”

After his death, the chronicles of Gyeongjong's rule were published in 1732 under the reign of King Yeongjo. A few of Gyeongjong's youthful calligraphic works have also survived.

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XIX: King Sukjong (Yi Soon) - A King who witnessed Factional Fightings and father of the next two Kings, Gyeongjong and Yeongjo


King Sukjong, previously known as Crown Prince Myeongbo (Hanja: 肅宗王 [明譜世子]; Born: 7 October 1661 – Died: 12 July 1720), born Yi Soon (이순/李焞) was the 19th king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea from 1674 to 1720. A skilled politician, he caused multiple changes of political alliance throughout his reign, switching between the Southerner, Westerner, Soron, and Noron political factions.

King Sukjong was the eldest prince to King Hyeonjong and Queen Myeongseong of Cheongpung Kim Clan at Changdeok Palace. He became the Crown Prince Myeongbo in 1667 at age 6, and in 1674, at age 14, he became the 19th ruler of the Joseon Dynasty.

King Sukjong was a brilliant politician, but his reign was marked by some of the most intense factional fights in Joseon dynasty. Sukjong frequently replaced faction in power with another one to strengthen the royal authority. With each change of government, which was called hwan-guk (환국/換局), literally turn of the state or simply known as upheaval, the losing faction was completely driven out of politics with executions and exiles. Nevertheless, the chaotic changes of government did not affect the general populace significantly, and his reign is considered one of more prosperous times.

In the early years of Sukjong's reign, the Southern faction and Western faction clashed over the Royal Funeral Dispute, a seemingly minor issue regarding the mourning period for Queen Insun. The Southern faction claimed that the mourning period should last one year while the Western faction argued for a nine-month mourning period. A one-year mourning period meant that Hyojong of Joseon was considered the eldest son while 9-month period would suggest that Hyojong was considered not the eldest son, following the rules that governed the yangban class. In other words, the Western faction viewed the royal family as the first of the yangban class rather than a separate class for which different rules applied. The two factions were also in conflict over the issue of fighting the Qing Dynasty, which was considered barbaric country (as opposed to Ming Dynasty) that threatened Joseon's national security. The Southern faction, led by Huh Jeok and Yoon Hyu, supported war against Qing while Western factions wanted to focus first on improving domestic conditions.

Sukjong at first sided with the Southern faction, but in 1680, Huh Jeok was accused of treason by Western faction, which led to the execution of Huh Jeok and Yoon Hyu and purging of the Southern faction. This incident is called Gyeongshin Upheaval (경신환국). Now in power, the Western faction split into the Noron (Old Learning) faction, led by Song Siyeol, and the Soron (New Learning) faction, led by Yoon Jeung. After nine years in power, the Noron collapsed when Sukjong deposed Queen Inhyeon, who was supported by the Western faction, and named Consort Hui of Jang clan (also called Consort Jang or Jang Hui-bin) as the new queen. She is widely thought to be one of the most beautiful women in Joseon Dynasty, and her beauty was mentioned in the Annals. The Western faction angered Sukjong when it opposed the naming of Consort Jang's son as crown prince. The Southern faction, who supported Consort Jang and her son, regained power and drove out Western faction, executing Song Si-yeol in revenge. This is called Gisa Upheaval (기사환국).

Five years later in 1694, the Southern faction was planning another purge of the Western faction, accusing them of conspiracy to reinstate the deposed Queen Inhyeon, when Sukjong began to regret deposing Queen Inhyeon and favor Consort Suk of Choe clan (Consort Choe), an ally of Queen Inhyeon and the Noron faction. Angry with the Southern faction's attempt to purge Westerners, Sukjong abruptly turned around to purge Southerners and brought the Western faction back in power. The Southern faction would never recover from this blow, also called Gapsul Upheaval (갑술환국). Sukjong demoted "Queen Jang" to Consort "Jang Hui-bin" and reinstated "Queen Inhyeon". Consort Jang was eventually executed (with poison) for cursing Queen Inhyeon to her death. The Soron faction supported Crown Prince Hwiso (Yi Yoon, later King Gyeongjong), Consort Jang's son, while the Noron faction supported Consort Choe's son, Prince Yeon-ing (Yi Geum, later King Yeongjo). Late "Queen Inhyeon" and newly installed "Queen Inwon" were childless.

In 1718, Sukjong allowed the crown prince, soon to be Gyeongjong of Joseon, to rule the country as regent. Sukjong died in 1720 supposedly after telling Yi I-myeong to name Prince Yeon-ing as Gyeongjong's heir, but in absence of a histriographer or recorder. This will would lead to yet another purge which led to the execution of four Noron leaders in 1721, followed by another purge with the executions of eight Noron people in 1722.

Sukjong made tax system reform (大同法/daedongbeop), promoted the use of coin (Korean mun) and allowed the middle class and children of concubines to advance to higher governmental positions in provinces. In 1712, Sukjong's government worked with the Qing Dynasty in China to define the national borders between the two countries at the Yalu and Tumen Rivers. The Japanese government recognized Ulleung Island as Joseon's territory in 1696 (Korean Government insists that Liancourt Rocks was also recognized. However, Japanese Government insists that Liancourt Rocks was not recognized as Joseon's territory).

King Sukjong was buried at the Royal Tomb of Myeongneung (明陵), a part of SeoOreung Royal Tomb Cluster in 334-92 SeoOreung Avenue/SeoOreungno, Yongdu-dong 475-95 beonji, Goyang DeogYang-gu, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as King Sukjong Hyeon-ui Gwangnyun Yeseong Yeongnyeol Yumo Yeong-un Hong-in Jundeok Baecheon Hapdo Gyehyu Dokgyeong Jeongjung Hyeopgeuk Shin-ui Daehun Jangmun Heonmu Gyeongmyeong Wonhyo the Great (숙종현의광륜예성영렬유모영운홍인준덕배천합도계휴독경정중협극신의대훈장문헌무경명원효대왕/肅宗顯義光倫睿聖英烈裕謨永運洪仁峻德配天合道啓休篤慶正中恊極神毅大勳章文憲武敬明元孝大王).


P/S: King Sukjong was received long and tongue-twisted posthumous name so he deserved it because of numerous of governmental reforms. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XVIII: King Hyeonjong (Yi Yeon) - A King who born in China and big issues on Joseonese Royal Funeral Ethics


King Hyeonjong, previously known as Crown Prince Gyeongjik (Hanja: 顯宗王 [景直世子]; Born: 15 March 1641 – Died: 17 September 1675), born Yi Yeon (이연/李棩) was the 18th monarch of Joseon Dynasty, reigning from 1659 to 1675. His reign was mostly marked by heavy conflict among nation's political factions on various issues, especially on funeral issues. Hyeonjong was born in 1641 as the first son of King Hyojong and Queen Inseon of Deoksu Jang Clan, while his father was still in China as captive of Manchu Qing Dynasty; thus he was born at Shenyang (Manchu: Mukden, Korean: SeonYang), Liaoning Province, People's Republic of China - the Manchu capital before Qing Dynasty officially move its capital to Beijing after defeating Ming Dynasty in 1644. He returned to Korea in 1645 along with his father and became Crown Prince in 1651.

When King Hyojong died in 1659, Hyeonjong succeeded his father as the ruler of Joseon. The first issue during his reign was about his predecessor's funeral; The conservative Westerners faction and the liberal Southerners faction squared off about how long Queen Jangryeol, King Injo's second wife, should have to wear funeral garment according to the Confucian form of funeral. The Westerners, headed by Woo-am Song Si-yeol, contended that she needed to wear the funeral garment for only a year, while the Southerners and their leader Heo Jeok wanted a 3-year period. This conflict arose because there was no previous record about Confucian funeral requirements when somebody's second stepson who actually succeeded the family line dies. The Westerners wanted to follow the custom for a second stepson, while the Southerners thought Hyojong deserved a 3-year funeral since he actually succeeded King Injo in the royal line.

The final decision was up to young King Hyeonjong; He chose to enforce a 1-year period, which would keep the Westerners as the major faction. However, at the same time, Hyeonjong did not remove Heo Jeok from office of Prime Minister, in order to prevent the Westerners from threatening royal authority. The feud between the Southerners and the Westerners was highly intensified by funeral issue; Earlier, after the fall of the Greater Northerners in 1623, the Westerners and the Southerners formed political alliance under the leadership of King Hyojong, but on the funeral issue, both sides were intractable, leading to a greater probability of confrontations.

Hyeonjong at first maintained the balance of two factions by compromising between them with the 1 year period of the Westerners and keeping Southerner Heo Jeok as Prime Minister, and the two factions resumed a peaceful relationship temporarily. However in 1674, when Queen Inseon, Hyojong's wife and Hyeonjong's mother, died, the funeral issue came up again; The Southerners wanted Queen Jaeui to wear the funeral garment for one year while the Westerners preferred a nine-month period. This time Hyeonjong listened to the Southerners and selected their method, making the Southerners faction as major political faction over the Westerners. The funeral controversy continued even after Hyeonjong died in 1675, and it was settled by Hyeonjong's successor King Sukjong, who banned all debate about this troublesome issue. The controversy even affected the publishment of official history of Hyeonjong's era; at first it was written chiefly by Southerners but later it was revised by Westerner historians.

In 1666, during Hyeonjong's reign, after more than thirteen years of captivity, Dutchman Hendrick Hamel left Korea and returned to the Netherlands, where he wrote a book about Joseon Dynasty and his experience in Korea, which introduced the small kingdom to many Europeans.

Hyeonjong stopped Hyojong's insuperable plan of northern conquest, since the Joseon had become a tributary state of the Qing Dynasty. Furthermore, after a series victories against the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty had become too mighty to resist. However, Hyeonjong continued Hyojong's military expansion and reconstruction of the nation which was devastated from the Japanese Imjin Invasion (1592-1598) and Manchu Jeongmyo and Byeongja Invasions of 1627 and 1636. He also encouraged astronomy and printing. He also legally banned the marriage between relatives and also between those who share the same surnames. He died in 1675, and was succeeded by his son King Sukjong Yi Soon.

King Hyeonjong was buried at the Royal Tomb of Sungneung (崇陵), a part of the Donggureung Royal Tomb Cluster in 197 Donggureung Avenue/Donggureungno, Inchang-dong san 11-1 beonji, Guri City, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as King Hyeonjong Sohyu Yeon-gyeong Dondeok Suseong Sunmun Sungmu Gyeong-in Changhyo the Great (현종소휴연경돈덕수성순문숙무경인창효대왕/顯宗昭休衍慶敦德綏成純文肅武敬仁彰孝大王).

Kings of Joseon Dynasty, Part XVII: King Hyojong (Yi Ho) - A King who commenced Northern Campaign against Russian Empire


King Hyojong, previously known as Grand Prince Bongnim (Hanja: 孝宗王 (鳳林大君) ; Born: 3 July 1619 – Died: 23 June 1659), Born Yi Ho (이호/李淏) was the seventeenth king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea from 1649 to 1659. He is best known for his plan for expedition to Manchu Qing dynasty and his campaigns against the Russian Empire by the request of Qing Dynasty. His plan for the northern expedition was never put into action since he died before the campaign started.

King Hyojong was born in 1619 as the second son of King Injo and Queen illyeol of Cheongju Han Clan. In 1623, when the Westerners faction (西人) launched a coup that removed then-ruling Gwanghaegun and crowned Injo, Hyojong was called to the palace along with his father and given the title of Grand Prince Bongrim in 1626.

In 1627, King Injo's hard-line diplomatic policy brought war between Korea and Manchus. Later, in 1636, the Manchus (Qing Dynasty) defeated Joseon, and King Injo pledged his loyalty to the Qing emperor at Samjeondo (present-day Seokchon-dong, Seoul Songpa-gu), bowing down at Hong Taiji's feet nine times. There, Injo and Hong Taiji signed a treaty, which included that Manchus would take Crown Prince Sohyeon, Injo's oldest son, and Hyojong to China as captive.

During his exile in China, Hyojong mostly tried to defend his older brother from the threats of the Qing Dynasty. Hong Taiji and his Manchu forces were still at war against the Chinese Ming Dynasty and also engaged in battle with the Mongols and Chinese Muslims; and many times, the Qing emperor requested Prince Sohyeon to go to the battlefield and help command troops against the Manchus' enemies. However, Hyojong was worried about his brother because he was the official heir to the throne of Joseon and had no military experience. He went on to fight the Chinese in his brother's place, and he also followed Sohyeon to battles against the Uyghurs and Muslims on the western front.

Along with his brother, he made contact with Europeans while he was in China; and also he learned that Joseon needed to develop new technology and a stronger political and military system in order to protect itself from foreign powers. He also developed a grudge against Qing Dynasty, which separated him from his home country and his family. It was during this period that he decided to make a massive plan for northern campaigns against the Manchus, an act of vengeance on the Qing Dynasty for the war of 1636.

In 1645, Crown Prince Sohyeon returned to Joseon alone, in order to succeed Injo to the throne and to help Injo to govern the nation. However, he often came into conflict with Injo, who disliked Sohyeon's open view of European culture and diplomatic views of the Qing Dynasty. Soon he was found dead at the King's room, and buried quickly after a short funeral. Later, Injo also executed Sohyeon's wife who tried to find out the real reason for her husband's death. Legends say that Injo killed his own son with an ink slab that the Crown Prince brought from China.

Rather than selecting Crown Prince Sohyeon's oldest son, Prince Gyeongseon Yi Seok-cheol, as the next royal successor, Injo selected Grand Prince Bongnim and gave him the title of Crown Prince. When King Injo died in 1649, Hyojong inherited the throne, becoming the 17th monarch of Joseon.

After rising to the throne, he began to reform and expand the military of Korea; first he removed Kim Ja-jeom, who had corrupted politics and had greater power than the king himself. Then, he called Woo-am Song Si-yeol (우암 송시열/尤庵 宋時烈) and Kim Sang-heon to his court, who supported war against the Qing Dynasty. His military expansion was massive, and he also built several border fortresses along Yalu River where Joseon and Qing shared a border. When a band of Dutch sailors including Hendrick Hamel drifted on Jeju Island, Hyojong ordered them to build muskets for the army, providing muskets to the Koreans for the first time after Seven Year War.

However, the Qing Dynasty continued to thrive, expanding quickly into the west after successfully conquering the Ming in 1644. The campaign was unable to be put in action, since the Manchus assimilated the massive Chinese army into their own. The Joseon military, although reformed and expanded, was no match against the combined Manchu and Chinese forces. Also, the Qing Dynasty began to treat Joseon as its friend and closest ally.

The expanded military was first put into action in 1654, when the Qing Dynasty called for help to fight against invading Russians. 150 Joseon musketeers, along with 3,000 Manchus, met Russian army at the Battle of Hutong (호통/好通), present-day Yilan), which was won by the Qing-Joseon allied forces. Four years later, in 1658, Hyojong sent troops once again to help Qing Dynasty against Russia; 260 Joseon musketeers and cannoners led by Shin Ryu joined the forces of Ninguta Military Governor Sarhuda, The joint force sailed down the Hurka and Sungari Rivers, and met the Russian forces under command of an Amur Cossack, Onufrij Stepanov near the fall of the Sungari River into the Amur, killing 270 Russians and driving them out of Manchu territory. The battles against Russia proved that Hyojong's reform had stabilized the Joseon army, although they were never put into action again. Despite the campaigns, Russia and Joseon remained on good terms. The Northern campaign is known as Naseon Jeongbeol (나선정벌/羅禪征伐), or "Suppression of the Russians".

During his reign, many books about farming were published to promote agriculture, which had been devastated during the Seven Year War. Hyojong also continued Gwanghaegun's reconstructions; he had a hard time restoring the economy at the same time as expanding the military. He also had to make more coins with metals which could have been used to make ammunitions, but had to give them up in order to rebuild his kingdom. He had too much stress dealing with numerous problems inside and outside of the country, and died at the early age of 41 in 1659. Although his plan for northern conquest was never put in action, many people regard him as a brilliant and brave ruler who dedicated his life to serving his nation.

King Hyojong was buried at the Royal Tomb of Nyeongneung, a part of the Royal Tomb of Yeongnyeongneung in 327 Yeongneung Avenue, Wangdae-ri 901-2 beonji Neungseo-myeon, Yeoju City, Gyeonggi Province. He was posthumously known as King Hyojong Heumcheon Daldo Gwang-ui Hongnyeol Seonmun Jangmu Shinseong Hyeon-in Myeong-ui Jeongdeok the Great (효종흠천달도광의홍렬선문장무신성현인명의정덕대왕(孝宗欽天達道光毅弘烈宣文章武神聖顯仁明義正德大王).

This tomb is also known as the Royal Tomb of Yeongneung. Despite the ambiguity of the word of Yeongneung on King Sejong's tomb, the dual tomb cluster become as the Royal Tomb of Yeongnyeongneung with the combination of Yeongneung (英陵) and Yeongneung (寧陵). Thus the word Yeongneung (寧陵) becomes Nyeongneung due to Beginning-Sound Rule a.k.a Du-eum Beopchik (두음법칙).